Mayor Coleman Delivers 2015 Budget Address
Paving the way for continued growth in Saint Paul
Mayor Coleman presented his 2015 budget proposal Wednesday with a strong focus on continued momentum through roads, economic development projects and strengthened city initiatives
SAINT PAUL – Mayor Chris Coleman today outlined a structurally balanced budget for Saint Paul during his annual budget address, which he delivered to more than 200 people gathered at the recently renovated Schmidt Artist Lofts, an affordable housing and work space community for artists.
Mayor Coleman’s budget successfully eliminated a projected $9.6 million budget gap while reducing overall city spending, avoiding any reduction in the number of police officers or firefighters, and concentrating on continued strategic investments, including $34 million in new money for roads and transportation upgrades.
“There is incredible citywide momentum,” said Mayor Coleman. “Our downtown is booming, our neighborhoods are seeing unprecedented transformation with investments like the Green Line, the Arlington Hills Community Center, and this building we gather in today. At the same time, our young people are benefiting from a continued emphasis on culturally relevant programming in our parks and libraries, workforce development opportunities and a commitment to equity as we strive to open doors for all in this city.”
Overall, the Mayor proposed a budget that reduced total spending by .3 percent and kept general fund growth at 1.25 percent - below the rate of inflation. He also proposed a 2.4 percent levy increase, which will help to maintain core city services. His key focus areas include the responsible use of public resources, a solid commitment to restoring and improving roads, and investing in projects that continue to fuel the city’s momentum while addressing equity.
“When all is said and done, I am proposing $54 million for street repair and transportation upgrades – including $34 million in new money,” said Mayor Coleman. “This is a huge kick-start to fixing the problems we saw this year and will ensure that all of the previously identified ‘Terrible 20’ will be reconstructed, resurfaced or redesigned by the end of 2015.”
Mayor Coleman also announced the creation of the 84% Coalition: Mayors for Municipal Roads, which he will spearhead with Nicollet Mayor Fred Froehlich. The Coalition will bring together more than 20 mayors from across the state to discuss strategies and move legislation forward to give greater equity to municipal road funding during the next legislative session.
The Mayor’s budget also makes crucial investments in the city’s employees, with paid parental leave proposed for city workers, as well as adding three Fire Certificate of Occupancy Inspectors to the Department of Safety and Inspections to address the current need. Additionally, the Mayor proposes an investment in the cyber safety of the city, with the hiring of a Chief Security Officer and investments in new software designed to better protect the city’s information infrastructure and digital assets.
To view the Mayor’s budget address as prepared for delivery, visit www.stpaul.gov/2015budgetaddress.